The Future (& Present) of Marketing: Collaboration, Technology & Innovation

What do you get when you combine an enterprise CMO and a partner at one of the world’s largest professional services firms?

I can’t speak for all scenarios but at B2BMX in Scottsdale this week, it led to an entertaining and insightful conversation, from two different perspectives.

Jeanniey Mullen, former CMO of Mercer and Vince Walden, Partner at Ernst and Young led an engaging discussion on the importance of innovation within organizations (large and small) as well as opportunities for better operationalizing your marketing department. Below are three ideas for how to future and present-proof your marketing.   

3 Ideas for Future-Proofing Your Marketing

Encourage Cross-Functional Collaboration

Often when brands talk about collaborating with others, it’s in the context of their own departments. Marketing teams look for insights from other marketers, salespeople look to a top seller and so on.

However, as more and more marketers are facing tough questions about ROI, revenue and business impact, it’s time to push the boundaries of collaboration.

If you look at the makeup of your leadership team, it’s likely that there are different individual objectives, that ultimately should role up to major business goals. To create alignment within your WHOLE company (not just your department) start seeking insights and advice from other departments.

Ensuring that your strategies are aligned with your C-Suite and other departments will:

  1. Improve the quality of your output
  2. Spark new ideas
  3. Build credibility and trust with leadership

The marketing content that we develop should always keep our customers in mind. We should also ensure that what we’re creating can be absorbed by the rest of our internal teams as well. In fact, passing marketing materials through other departments before launching is a good way to gain additional perspective. Moral of the story: Don’t make decisions in a silo.

Always make sure your marketing materials are written in a way that anyone in the organization can understand and identify quickly. @jeannieymullen Click To Tweet

Embrace AI and Machine Learning

Sorry folks, the robots are here, and they’re here to stay.

Companies that are successful with digital transformation have worked these new(ish) technologies into their marketing in order to scale. So, instead of feeling threatened by these technologies, marketers have an opportunity to embrace them and make AI and machine learning work for their team.

Still need proof?

  • 83% of early AI adopters have already achieved substantial (30%) or moderate (53%) economic benefits. (Deloitte)
  • AI will boost profitability by 38% and generate $14 trillion of additional revenue by 2035. (Accenture)
  • 20% of the C-Suite is already using machine learning. (McKinsey)

A recent report from Salesforce also found that by 2020 (that’s next year people!), 57% of buyers will depend on companies know what they want before the first interaction. So, if we don’t begin embracing these technologies (and soon), it’ll be nearly impossible to live up to the expectations of our customers. Which means, we’ll lose them.

Data wizard Chris Penn has speaking and writing about AI what seems like forever. And when it comes down to it, AI will enable marketers to BETTER utilize the data we have, more quickly.

We have a data fever, and the prescription is cognitive marketing. @cspenn #AI Click To Tweet

If you’re looking for a jumpstart, be sure to check out Chris’ new book: AI for Marketers: An Introduction & Primer. 

Develop A Process for Innovation

Brands invest a significant amount of time in developing a series of processes for how they sell, how they execute, how they improve the quality of their work. Most brands, however, do not have a documented way to approach innovation. And unfortunately, this can lead to a couple of scenarios:

  • Innovation is slow moving or non-existent
  • Too much time is spent on innovation, but misguided and not successful

But how can you overcome this hurdle and make innovation a part of your documented process?

Vincent suggested following an innovation model like the one below that will not only keep your team aligned in how to innovate but will help you identify if a particular innovation is worth investing in further.

Technology alone does not drive innovation. @VincentWaldenEY Click To Tweet

Are You Ready to Embrace the Present & Future of Marketing?

Marketers, the future is here and ultimately, teams that work better together, embrace new technology and innovate in a more predictable way will win the hearts, minds and wallets of target customers.

Thank you Jeanniey and Vincent for the great advice on how marketers can begin to operationalize in a more successful way.

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